How Do I Convince My Dog to Wear Clothes In The Winter?

Winter is knocking on our doors, and we all know how freezing it becomes in winter, and we all care about furry babies. Even though dogs have fur and long hair, we all know we can’t leave them to face the freezing weather on their own. However, if you ever tried to put on some clothes on your dog, you must already know that this can be one of the hardest missions to accomplish. But did you ever ask yourself what the most suitable clothes material for dogs is?

“Teaching a dog to wear clothes in winter can be a useful trick if your dog gets really cold during winter. You have to make sure that you have the best treats. Start step by step and give the dog treats for every successful step. Make sure that the dog is comfortable in his shirt.”

Most Suitable Clothes Material for Dogs

Dog wearing clothes

I hate to be that person who makes everything look dangerous. But as they say, “Prevention is better than the cure,” which means we have to prevent the possible diseases rather than treat them.

That’s why I always look at the possible diseases behind everything related to dogs. And unfortunately, I have searched for possible conditions with today’s topic today.

Dogs can wear clothes; however, we should pay a close look at what they can wear and the material of the clothes they can wear. A quick throwback to our Halloween Article last month when I mentioned that any fabric that will affect the dog’s mobility should be ignored, and I have received a lot of messages after the post asking about the reason.

Reason for ignoring non-stretchable fabrics

Dogs are wild animals, and they generally have three instincts: Pack, prey & survive. The pack instinct is the instinct that makes dogs very loyal to their owners, the prey is for hunting, and the surviving instinct explains itself. Whenever a dog happens to face a difficult situation, he automatically turns himself into a behavior called: Fight or Flight. 

For example, if your dog faced a growling off-leash dog running at him, you will notice that either your dog tries to run or attack him. He won’t stand still and ignore him; he automatically turned himself into Fight or Flight position. So that means that dogs -like all wild animals- must feel that they can move if there’s a threat and non-stretchable fabrics will restrict them for doing so, now you might say, “There is no threat inside the house, so it’s fine to wear non-stretchable fabrics.” The problem is that whenever dogs find themselves handcuffed, they will be very anxious and start to act violently. So, whenever a baby or someone approaches them, they may start barking or growling at them, and that’s because he is very anxious, and he can’t be in FLIGHT position, so he will always FIGHT.

Is it possible for him to get “used” to it?

Yes, it is but not advisable.

What are the best recommendations?

The best fabrics for dog clothes and coats would be 100 % cotton fabrics that don’t make your dog sweat. Also, flannel and fleece are suitable for dog coats. I always recommend staying away from itchy materials that will make your dog uncomfortable.

What if I used Fabric that causes sweating?

Unfortunately, the fabrics that cause sweating can lead to a huge problem, such as skin infections. Dogs’ bodies are hotter than us, and increasing the temperature by wearing a lot of sweating clothes, will lead them to have Skin Infections and Possible heat strokes. So, be mindful of what your dog wears.

It’s acceptable to dress your dog in lots of clothes only if you were going outside in the cold weather, however, at home just let him wear cotton T-shirts or pantaloons.

Sewing vs Buying Dog Clothes

A popular question I always receive is, what’s better, sewing for your dog vs. buying clothes? And I prefer sewing because you will make sure that the Fabric used in 100% cotton or regular Fabric that won’t affect your dog’s health at all. However, it is not a must. You can buy regular clothes, like a sweater for your dog.

The Training Process

Now, let’s come to the critical part that you’re waiting, how to convince a dog to wear clothes?

Training a dog to wear clothes takes some time. Remember the time when you tried to train your dog to walk well on a leash? Training a dog to wear clothes is considered to have the same difficulty.

Now, remember, the key to proper training is to have the best treats. Whether you will give your dog chicken, a beautiful session of his favorite game, or a quick run, you have to give your dog the best treats ever for any successful step he takes. Another thing to keep in mind is that dogs don’t wear clothes by default. That means this is a new concept that requires patience. Now, you can start training your dog by following that guide:

  1. Choose a comfortable and old thing to wear at first: Make sure to choose a large T-shirt or sweater so that your dog will be comfortable inside it. I prefer it to be old because most of the time, your dog will try to rip it off. So to avoid any money loss, bring an old Tshirt and make sure that it is large enough for your dog. A lot of people prefer to cut the rest of the shirt when it reaches the legs of your dog to make him comfortable, and that’s fine.
  2. First, put the shirt around his body: No need to put him inside the T-shirt, make it around his body to see how does he react to clothes. If he tried to rip it off, then you should train him to leave clothes without damaging them, and you can find a great tutorial on that subject here.
    Now, if he doesn’t do any harm to the T-shirt, that’s a good sign, give him a treat and proceed to the next step.
  3. Second, put the T-shirt around the dog’s neck: Don’t full put him inside the T-shirt, wrap the T-shirt around his neck and give him treats. He will be anxious about what’s happening, but you can calm him down with a simple, beautiful treat. Remember to be very slow; don’t jump the steps or dress him suddenly.
  4. Make sure your dog is comfortable with you lifting his arm from the ground: You have to make sure your dog is OK and not stressed when you grab his arm or lift it from the ground. A lot of dogs will keep growling if anybody tried to grab them from their arm (like mine).
    If he does growl, start touching his hand softly and give him treats now and then. Increase the difficulty until you could finally lift his arm entirely from the ground, then you can continue with the training.
  5. Putting your dog’s hands in the T-shirt: Indeed, this is the most frustrating step for your dog and will be the hardest. Convincing your dog to go inside something is hard, and you should be patient. Start by putting the T-shirt around your dog’s neck while giving him treats. Then put your dog’s hands in the sleeves and immediately go onto a walk. The reason I recommend walking is that it makes him forget whatever he is wearing. So go on a walk and run, play together until he is exhausted, then he will return and sleep and forget whatever he has on. However, let him take his T-shirt off once he returns so that he won’t be stressed.
  6. Repeat the previous step daily: increase the duration daily and make sure to remove the clothes whenever the dog is stressed.
  7. Voila

Do Dogs Need To Wear Clothes?

I have never put any clothes on Kira. Maybe one day, I will. However, I don’t believe that dogs should wear clothes at all. Golden Retrievers and others are designed to live in icy areas, and after all, these are dogs, and we should respect their habits. Though, I am thinking about putting on clothes on Kira as an experiment to see how does she react. I have trained friends’ dogs to wear clothes but never believed that I should teach mine.


Due to our kind heart and our belief in providing the best possible life for our dogs, we treat them like our babies, which is a wonderful thing. However, we have to look closely and understand the nature of our dogs and what they can and can’t bear. Putting on clothes on dogs is a great thing to do and definitely might help them in winter. However, choosing the most suitable Fabric is a must. Otherwise, your dog will suffer, and we don’t want that to happen.

Have you read our latest article about puppy bathing? Make sure to check it out. Make sure to write your thoughts on the post down below.

Soheir Maher

Hi, I am Soheir. I have always been passionate about dogs. My first dog was Leo who was a wonderful Golden Retriever after that I got Kira another Golden Retriever who is wonderful too. My passion for dogs made me read a lot about them. Training them personally made me become an expert in everything related to them, that's why my writing is always a mix of experience and science. My writing about dogs isn't for the sake of earning a living but instead, for the sake of benefiting people around the world.

Recent Posts